|Phillips wants regional database to track drug traffickers
Monday, March 03, 2003
|PHILLIPS. I am interested in building a regional database so that co-ordination with each other may be easier|
SECURITY Minister Dr Peter Phillips wants a regional database to track the movement of illegal drug traffickers across the Caribbean.
The database, he said, would help security personnel to better co-operate and provide quick analysis and determination of regional and international narcotic dealers.
The threat faced by the Caribeban, he said, made it crucial for a high level of co-operation from all regional states.
"I am interested in building a regional database so that co-ordination with each other may be easier. We need to build more effectively on the information and knowledge we have so that we can get to the root of this illegal (narcotic) trade," Phillips said.
The minister who spoke Friday at the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Centre, Twickenham Park, St Catherine, was addressing the closing of a three-week course for police, customs, immigration and army officers, involved in narcotics investigations.
Said Phillips: "An estimated 100 to 120 metric tons of cocaine pass through Jamaica yearly, making the island one of the largest transshipment points for cocaine in the region. The value of the trade is approximately US$300 to $600 billion per year," he said.
At the same time, he told the 33 regional law enforcement officers who completed their course Friday not to under-estimate the significance of the drug trade, which he said had an annual estimated value of US$500 billion.
According to Phillips, the region was putting the emphasis on training, explaining that in order to counteract the drug trade, law enforcement officers must have first-rate skills and be as agile, imaginative, inventive and intelligent as the druggists are. But he warned that evidence of success could be a long and difficult struggle.
Since the Caribbean Regional Drug Centre was established seven years ago, 2,758 law enforcement officers have been trained.
The 33 law officers from 11 Caribbean islands who completed their course Friday were trained in covert investigation and search techniques, clandestine lab investigations, forensic awareness, criminal intelligence analysis, surveillance tactics, money laundering and managing informants.